Title: The Claws of Winter
Series: Arcane Hearts: Book Seven
Author: Nazri Noor
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 237 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: The Claws of Winter brings readers one step closer to the end of the Arcane Hearts series, and delivers Jack and Xander one step closer to the altar. They’re as solid as always, which is a nice change of pace from the relationship angst that drives so many stories. The suspense stays where it belongs—with the unknown in an alt-world, until it’s time for the reveal.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Revenge is a dish best served cold.
The guild of artificers is so close to completion, Jackson Pryde can almost taste it. Befriending the Black Market’s guilds has paid off. Everyone agrees that Jackson should become master of the artificers, even Mother Dough, the powerful guild of bakers.
But it’s not all sugar and spice. A strange sorcerer has reawakened Xander’s interest in Incandescence. The second AI has unearthed a bizarre blueprint. And not everything is as it seems in the Verdance.
Tensions mount as the fae courts question the value of human friendship – and human life. Jackson and Xander may have saved the King of Summer, but now they must face the wrath of the Queen of Winter.
Review: Jackson Pryde is closer than ever to his goal of rebuilding the Halls of Making and carrying on his family legacy. Acclimating to being called Master is still a work-in-progress, but it’s beginning to feel true, especially now that his latest invention has proven not only to work but is selling. Things couldn’t be falling into place better for the cheeky artificer who has brains and brawn and an amazing fiancé going for him. Except for the fact the Queen of Summer, Titania, is missing, and King Oberon has asked Jack and Xander to come to the Verdance to help find her.
And in the Verdance, as it is on Earth, nothing is ever quite as cut and dried and it seems.
The Claws of Winter brings readers one step closer to the end of the Arcane Hearts series, and delivers Jack and Xander one step closer to the altar. Their commitment to and affection for each other remains the mainstay of the series: come what may, the friction and suspense is always externally motivated. That doesn’t mean Jack doesn’t have moments of insecurity in this installment, he does, but those are largely thanks to Xander’s parents rather than the guy he considers “the man of his dreams.” Jack and Xander are as solid as always, which is a nice change of pace from the relationship angst that drives so many stories. The suspense stays where it belongs—with the unknown in an alt-world, until it’s time for the reveal.
Never meet your heroes pops up as a truism again, when Xander meets a well-known Incandescent—the sort of magic practitioner willing to give up their soul to achieve ultimate power. But being a great pretender takes prowess and stamina. It takes a lot more than pomp and circumstance and a flashy wardrobe. It takes more than Xander’s admiration and his parents’ interference. I liked where Nazri Noor went with this as a means of putting a No on this side-plot rather than leaving it a Maybe.
The final reveal and battle with the adversary is the culmination of a lot of hard work, courage, strength and conviction. Some lessons are also learned: 1) Never bet against a Grayhaven boy when death is on the line. 2) Never bet against a noble fae knight doing the bidding of their king. 3) And definitely never bet against the guy who’s going into battle at the direction of a goddess, not when his friends and fiancé are in grave danger.
You can buy The Claws of Winter here: